May is Mental Health Awareness Month and we are focusing on ways to destress and decompress. Listening to podcasts can be a great way to practice some mindfulness as they let us focus on something other than our research, our jobs or relationships, at least for a while. This is not to say that educational podcasts tangible to our research are not also useful but utilising podcasts as way to escape our everyday routines.
Our committee has picked their favourite podcasts or at least the ones that they are not ashamed to admit they are listening to to help you navigate the huge amount of podcasts that are out there.
This is a shameless promotion of a niche podcast but also it is actually very good, I promise! New on the online market, the ‘It’s Probably Nothing‘ video podcast is a gem (for PhD students and anyone else who likes to worry little bit too much). I think it’s incredibly funny, so relatable, and speaks to the heart. And the best thing is: you realize you are not alone in it, whether you struggle with anxiety or perfectionism.
Meghan Markle’s “Archetypes” has been a fascinating podcast to listen to, not least because it pertains to subject that my doctoral research is concerned with (the creation of labels, or well, archetypes and their persistence in the public imagination — I only of course focus on Ernest Hemingway). “Archetypes,” on the other hand, is directly relevant to today’s society — the way women specifically are put into detrimental categories, and are effectively being “typecast” into certain rigid roles throughout their lives.
The focus of my PhD research is on Pacific Ecoliterature, so I like to listen to the Deep Pacific podcast to hear Pacific Islander views on Pacific Islander issues. They also give a list of references on their website for each episode which I love, as it allows me to research further.
Empire Film Podcast – Going to the cinema is one of my favourite things to do, so a podcast all about film is right up my alley. Whilst the journalists at Empire Magazine obviously know their stuff when it comes to the movies, what makes this podcast great is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. So yes, you will get your usual interviews with the who’s who of Hollywood and discussion of film news, but you will also get a boat-load of banter and a good deal of drifting into weird and wonderful tangents.
The Benefits of Podcasts
The many benefits of listening to podcasts range from improving your listening abilities over stimulating mental imagery to learning new things.
- Podcasts are easily accessible and often free
- Many podcasts are multi-task friendly: you can cook, you can clean, you can walk while listening to the podcast of your choice
- The build intimacy and an imagined community: you can feel like you are connecting with the host or hosts and some in-jokes (“Go Well”) or references (Poppadoms or Bread??!) can create a sense of community within the listenership**
The vast variety of topics, formats, and content shows that there is something for everyone and everything which is why we couldn’t resist adding a few more suggestions.
Monja's Bonus Pick
From Ancient Greece to New York on 9/11, from Tudors to Einstein – this podcast covers it all: Dan Snow’s History Hit! With episodes of around 30min you will always find time to listen to it: on the Tube or a walk, cleaning the kitchen or during your lunch break. For me it’s the perfect way to unwind when my brain is still working at a thousand miles an hour.
Conny's Bonus Pick
I have been involved with environmental protection since the 90s, which is why I chose to look at Ecoliterature for my PhD. The Root Cause Remedies podcast team is based in Hawaii, and they discuss what environmental justice (and injustice) looks like to native Hawaiians through grassroots revolution storytelling.
Natalia's Bonus Pick
The Daily Show: Ears Edition – When you don’t feel like watching the snippets they put on YouTube or hunting down the full tv episodes, the so-called ‘Ears Edition’ of The Daily Show fills the gap. Part comedy, part news round up, I like the way it breaks down current events and issues into understandable chunks and makes you laugh along the way.